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July 23, 2011

Reporter's Notebook: Heat lingers during Hall of Fame weekend


Daily Star

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Speaking about the impact of record-setting heat on Thursday, Bassett Healthcare Network spokeswoman Karen Huxtable said emergency departments and urgent care centers have had very little, if any, patients with heat-related illnesses to treat.

Looking at this weekend, "We typically do see a rise in visits to the emergency department at Bassett Medical Center" on Hall of Fame weekend, she said.

Given that the heat is expected to persist this weekend, "we'd ask people to stay hydrated and take appropriate precautions, especially with young children, the elderly and those individuals with medical conditions that might make them more prone to problems during hot weather," she said.

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Anyone interested in eating locally might note an event presented by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.

This September, the association is sponsoring the second annual NY Locavore Challenge, a monthlong campaign aimed at engaging consumers across the state in supporting the local organic food movement.

According to the release, the challenge starts with the theory of "voting with your dollar," but takes it a few steps further. Concerned citizens are encouraged to participate in a variety of events and challenges that support their local economies, encourage organic and sustainable growing practices and propel the movement forward. The aim is for 5,000 people statewide to participate in the challenge this year.

Registration is available online at www.nylocavorechallenge.com or by calling the NOFA-NY office at (585) 271-1979, ext. 512.

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The House Committee on Agriculture pointed out that the federal Farm Bill is more than a way to help the farmers, according to a recent media release.

Nutrition programs account for more than 75 percent of spending in the federal plan. Of that, the primary source of spending is the Supplemental Nutrition Assurance Program (SNAP) formerly known as food stamps.

It helps supplement the food budget of low-income households and is designed to expand by helping more during economic downturns and to contract when things improve.

There was $33 billion spent on the program in 2007 and $69 billion in 2011.

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Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture, held an audit hearing to examine the Title IV nutrition programs, including SNAP, in the series on farm policy that is designed to oversee current spending to ensure programs are delivered effectively, while minimizing waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication.

It also provides members of the committee with a comprehensive view of farm programs.

"This dramatic growth in SNAP participation and cost has strained our resources," she said. "Given our current budget situation, we have a responsibility to examine whether we can reduce the funding without compromising the integrity of the SNAP program."

Mark Boshnack can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 218, or at mboshnack@thedailystar.com.